gardenia: 7 posts

Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia Extrait : Perfume Review

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Elisa talks about gardenia, tiare, and leather as she reviews Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia Extrait.

Searching for a natural gardenia perfume is a little like hunting for unicorns – gardenias, notoriously, don’t release a natural oil. As Victoria once put it, “gardenia, temperamental flower that she is, does not give up her essence to any distillation methods.” Accordingly, gardenia in perfumery is necessarily a re-creation, using other materials to approximate the flower’s scent: sweetly tropical, but with an earthy element often likened to dirt or mushrooms.

gardenia

I was surprised, then, when I heard that Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes was releasing a gardenia scent, since Aftel is known for her all-natural creations. As it turns out, Cuir de Gardenia is based on the Tahitian gardenia, or tiare flower, which can be made into a (costly) enfleurage (termed monoi when using coconut oil). Aftel has bolstered this material with jasmine and benzyl acetate, an isolate that occurs naturally in jasmine and ylang-ylang and is also used as a solvent in plastic and resins.

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Nuxe Prodigieux Le Parfum : Perfume Review

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Whenever I see a product described as a cult favorite, I’m instantly skeptical. The pink and green Maybelline mascara is the worst thing I’ve put on my lashes. Rosebud salve in its pretty retro tin dries out my lips. Nars Orgasm blush is just OK. The exception for me is Huile Prodigieuse Dry Oil from French skincare & cosmetics firm Nuxe, and it fully lives up to its “cult favorite” label. It’s a seaside vacation in a bottle. The oil leaves skin soft and shimmering, not at all greasy, and applying the golden liquid feels like a luxury spa treatment.

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Besides the nourishing and moisturizing benefits, fans of Nuxe oil adore its frangipani and coconut perfume. It’s sophisticated and rich, a tangle of white petals and coconut flakes. I’ve always thought that it’s good enough to be in a perfume bottle, and a couple of years ago Nuxe decided to do just that. The company turned to the same perfumer who created the beloved Nuxe oil scent, Serge Majoullier, and asked him to blend Prodigieux, Le Parfum*.

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Aerin Collection : Perfume Reviews

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Aerin, the lifestyle brand of Aerin Lauder, recently presented five fragrances: Gardenia Rattan, Amber Musk, Lilac Path, Ikat Jasmine and Evening Rose. So what can you expect from the collection? Each fragrance is built around a distinctive theme and painted with delicate, pastel tones. The word that comes to mind is tasteful.

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At first, I was a little disappointed to find such mild-mannered blends, but the more I wore the perfumes, the more the collection made sense as the scent equivalent of pret-a-porter. Wearing these perfumes is like slipping into a cashmere dress or silk camisole, a garment that may not look flamboyant but that makes you feel wonderful. The perfumes are not dramatic, to be sure, but they are a pleasure to wear.

While the perfumes don’t come cheap, Lauder didn’t skimp on high-grade materials when making Aerin’s collection. For instance, Evening Rose contains beautiful rose absolute and Amber Musk features a particularly luscious musk note. Overall, it’s a good fit with Aerin Lauder’s understated aesthetic and emphasis on quality. But if you want haute couture drama and panache, you’ll probably have to look elsewhere.

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Cacharel Loulou : Perfume Review (Now and Then)

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As a kid I used to love puzzles and I spent many evening looking for the right jigsaw piece to complete the picture. Occasionally I feel that with perfumes I’m still playing a jigsaw puzzle game as the same fragrance reveals something new whenever I smell it again. This was the case with Cacharel Loulou. When I first smelled it as an 11 year old on my mother, I remember thinking, “the cherry compote.” It was the only part of Loulou I could recognize, because at that point I hadn’t smelled any gardenias or ylang ylang or incense. They didn’t figure in my Eastern European childhood.

loulou

Revisiting Loulou some years later after I had already worn gardenias tucked in my hair as someone tried to kiss my neck and having smelled pungent Indian incense, other pieces of the puzzle fell in place. I discovered with surprise and pleasure that it was not a juicy cherry, but a candied white blossom dipped in vanilla liqueur. I loved it just the same, except that it no longer seemed innocent to me. Loulou was quite a vixen, and though I wasn’t one at all, I liked to dab the parfum on my neck and play the part.

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A Heady and Refined Scent for Winter : Gardenia

I have a new article in The Financial Times “How to Spend It” Magazine. In A Heady and Refined Scent for Winter, I talk about some of my favorite gardenia scents. The opulent and complex scent of gardenias has been on my mind a lot lately.  If I had more space, I would have included Estée Lauder Private Collection Tuberose GardeniaBy Kilian Water Calligraphy, Parfums de Nicolai Juste Un Rêve (a gardenia kissed tropical bouquet), and of course, Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia (alas, discontinued).

Gardenia is a flower with diverse connotations, from sultry to innocent. The jazz singer Billie Holiday famously tucked a white gardenia in her hair; 19th Shanghai courtesans used its seeds to colour their undergarments a vibrant yellow; and in the Victorian language of flowers, gardenia symbolised purity and refinement. Its scent is heady and lush, marrying the seductive warmth of jasmine with the sweetness of peach and coconut. A single blossom is enough to perfume a room for hours with a fragrance that reminds me of a summer evening. But with winter approaching, it will be months before I can find fresh gardenias, and instead  I look for them in a perfume bottle. To read the rest, click here.

Do you have favorite gardenia fragrances?

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